Finals week is an unnecessary aspect of college that is extremely detrimental to the mental health of students who are actually concerned about their grades and strive to succeed. Feel free to call me a stupid, feels-entitled, millennial if you please, but whether you agree or not, I can say as a college student in the year 2018 that having finals are far more deleterious than not having them.
College is stressful enough. Personally, when I have an exam coming up, I stress out about it and aggressively study for at least, but more if I can afford it, a week in advance. I put off absolutely everything else to study. I do not concern myself with anything else besides the one or two exams I have in the following week.
I try my best to prioritize, but I often neglect the classes that I do not have exams during the week of other exams. My eating schedule gets destroyed, my sleep schedule gets destroyed, and my mind can hardly think about anything else.
Now, imagine, in a span of four days, you have FIVE exams to worry about. And, if that isn't bad enough, they're not on 2-4 chapters like your other exams... They're on absolutely everything you learned since the first day of school. So essentially, any piece knowledge you learned in any class ever in the past semester is fair game, and you have to know it all.
But wait! That's not all! There's more! Did I mention that the final exam in a class almost always counts more than other exams, and it always makes up a huge chunk of your final grade? Your grade in every respective class, and thus your overall GPA, depends on your performance on each final.
You could say "why don't you start studying really early, so you can get a lot of studying done?" The answer to that is I can't because I have regular during-semester exams all the way up until finals week that I have to study for, so unless you want to fail those, you can't start studying for finals until the during-semester exams are all over.
Because of the way final exams are set up, scheduled, and weighted, if you want good grades on your finals, and thus good grades in your classes, you truly have to sacrifice your mental health, well-being, and happiness for a solid two weeks.
Unless all of your classes are a walk in the park, there is no way to be able to efficiently and sufficiently prepare for all of them without sacrificing time to sleep, time to eat, and time to relax. In addition, don't forget the fact that you're constantly overcome with stress because your GPA resides on these extremely weighted exams that are hard hours apart from each other. (Sometimes, there is only ten minutes between finals.)
You truly have to make sure you know absolutely everything you learned all semester. You can't focus on any one class, because your grades in all of your other classes will suffer. You have to find a way to study for all of your finals, in such little time.
Dedicating too much time to one class will cause you do not have enough time for a different class, and thus could potentially cause you to drop a letter grade or two in the different class, being seriously detrimental to your GPA. However, if you don't spend enough time on a certain class, your letter grade could drop in that class and also harm your GPA. You truly have to make sacrifices and pick your battles, and it is rarely ever easy. You have to play your time management cards perfect, and if you don't, your GPA will suffer.
There is absolutely no need at all to put college kids through this.
I've spent a lot of time researching final exams and the impacts they have on college kids, and I have yet to find any evidence to support the idea that final exams are beneficial in any way to college students. Almost every study reports the detrimental effects they have. (Seriously, look it up if you don't believe me.)
Why can't we just have three or four exams throughout the semester, like we do now, but without the final? What is the point of the final? We were already tested on all of that material. And, when we were tested on that material, we didn't have four other exams to worry about at the same time, so we were able to study more efficiently and perform better.
There is no need to be tested on that material again if we were already tested on it. Just have a last exam in the class from the material learned since the previous exam to the last day of class. It is unnecessary to make finals cumulative because it unnecessarily puts college students through the stress of relearning every piece of information for every class they were already tested on. Finals week is less of a test of the material you learned, and more of a test to see if you can mentally handle everything they throw at you.
Walking through campus and the library, seeing students crying over finals, people throwing up because of stress, people having anxiety and panic attacks about their grades this past finals week really made me think "Why? What is the point? Why are they putting us through this?"
And I've concluded, based on the research I've done on the topic and my own personal experience as well, that there is genuinely no good reason. Colleges act like they're so concerned about the mental health and well being of their students, but yet they subject them to the most mentally detrimental week possible.
And that is why I am vehemently against finals week.